4C Hair

Determining Your Curly Hair Type: 3A to 4C Hair

Understanding your curl type is a must, so we have put a guide together from 3A to 4C hair so you can match your curls to your type! If you’re still struggling to identify your type from our guide, don’t worry as it can be tough to decipher. Ask your hairstylist for help if you want to be sure! 

You need to know your curl type as it’s the only way to pick the right products for your hair. This is key to knowing your hair needs and what you should avoid. It can be challenging to determine your specific hair type, especially as we move into curly hair types as different curl patterns can look and feel quite similar. 

What Are Curl Types?

Curl patterns fall under four curl types that were invented as a part of the Andre Walker Hair Typing System, which is widely used today. The categories are laid out from type 1 (straight) to type 4 (coiled or kinky). These are then broken down further into subtypes A, B and C, with 4C hair being the most coily.


Curl Types 3 And 4

Type 3 Hair 

Hair that comes under type number 3 is unmistakably curly, especially when compared to the straight or wavy patterns of types 1 and 2. Overall, type 3 hair ranges from loose, soft ringlets to tight corkscrew curls. Type 3 hair is typically not very naturally shiny, with curls that form an S shape alongside natural body and volume. 


This hair type has lots of body, with thick, defined curls that are loose. The curls are generally as wide as a wine cork. Those with type 3A hair can suffer from dryness or frizz.


Characterised by medium-sized tight curls that may frizz, these curls are well-defined and tighter than type 3A, with individual curls being about as wide as a marker pen. 


The curliest subtype of type 3 hair, 3C hair has tight, corkscrew curls with a circumference similar to a straw or pencil. These curls have lots of body and volume and always bounce back to their original state.

Type 4 Hair 

This hair type covers coily and kinky hair patterns and are more common among black men and women. Curls can range from an S shape to O or Z and experience significant shrinkage after drying. Let’s look more closely at 4A, 4B and 4C hair types.


Defined, tight coils with a definite O shape, 4A curls are dense and tightly defined spirals with a width of a coffee stirrer. Hair texture in this subtype can be coarse or semi-coarse with lots of volume. 


Commonly holding a Z shape with a zigzag pattern, 4B hair is less defined than 4A. The curls are tightly coiled and dense.


This hair type is the densest, most coily hair type. It features a tiny zigzag pattern that might not look like curls from a distance. This hair type has no defined curls and can experience copious shrinkage when dry.  

Caring For 3A to 4C Hair 

Although conditioning is a must for every hair type, afro and curly hair, which fall between 3A and 4C hair types, crave moisture. Ensuring you have a powerful, natural hair care routine that prioritises hydration is key to caring for your curls. Afro and curly hair types need added moisture to define curls, reduce frizz, and maintain hair elasticity.

For more information on caring for curly and coily hair, read more on our blog page, or visit our product page to discover natural hair care specifically designed and formulated for afro hair. Sign up for our newsletter for exclusive offers and even more curl content, and follow us on Facebook and Instagram to keep up with our latest news and updates!

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